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Are there different Scrum Master certifications and how do they differ?

Yes, there are.

There are several Scrum Master courses available on the market, certified and uncertified, with varying degrees of credibility.

Scrum Certification

In my opinion, there are only 2 credible sources of certification as a Scrum Master, and they are via Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org.

The Certified Scrum Master credential is a registered trademark and certification from the Scrum Alliance whilst Scrum.org offer the Professional Scrum Master course and certification.

There are a few companies who will advertise their course as a Certified Scrum Master course, but they are not certified by the Scrum Alliance and are not entitled to use the name or course material.

So, my first piece of advice to you when thinking about certification and training is that you do your due diligence.

Is the course presented by a Certified Scrum Trainer or Professional Scrum Trainer? If not, it is highly unlikely that the course and credential is certified by either the Scrum Alliance or Scrum.org.

A Certified Scrum Trainer goes through a rigorous process of validation and approval via the Scrum Alliance, and they are likely to be individuals with at least a decade’s worth of experience working in Scrum environments as a practitioner, coach, or trainer.

It can take anywhere between 12 and 36 months for an individual to become a Certified Scrum Trainer and it involves a lot of peer review and validation through the process. An aspiring CST will also need to co-train with practicing Certified Scrum Trainers to earn their approval and validation.

A Certified Scrum Master course must be presented by a Certified Scrum Trainer, and it must include 16 hours or more of instruction from a CST for the course to be recognised by the Scrum Alliance.

Delegates then write an online international examination and are awarded the CSM credential upon successful completion of the examination.

A CSM is an industry recognised benchmark of performance for entry-level Scrum Masters and is also favourably recognised by recruiters as a great entry-level qualification for Scrum Masters. The Professional Scrum Master course and certification is also viewed in a similar light by the industry.

Scrum Training

If certification is not important to you, there are a host of Scrum courses available both online and in-person training.

There are way too many of these courses available for us to comment on, but we would still advise that you do your due diligence before investing in training.

Try to investigate the calibre of individuals who will be teaching you. Do they publish regularly? Are they sought out as speakers by industry events such as the Scrum Gathering? Do they have a great deal of experience as Scrum practitioners outside of their training capacity?

There is nothing wrong with uncertified Scrum training if you are being trained by experienced professionals with a great track record in Scrum. You can always choose to certify at any given stage of the journey by enrolling in a certified course.

Learning can also take place in the form of coaching and mentoring, whilst in other cases you might receive on-the-job training from an experienced Scrum Master.

At Agile Centre, we are often involved in coaching and mentoring individuals for the companies we coach and consult to.

We develop a learning and development path with the aim of embedding Agile capability and scrum expertise over 6 to 48 months, depending on the individual’s journey.

Many of our clients choose to certify as part of their learning and self-development journey but some choose not to. For some people, actively developing as a skilled practitioner or coach means a great deal more than the certification.

Agile Centre developed the Agile Coaching Academy as a mentored way of learning for aspiring Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches.

The academy aims to coach and mentor individuals as they move through their apprenticeship and journeyman phase in Scrum. Our experienced coaches and trainers invest in skills development and capability building for individuals who are active practitioners in the field.

It is a great way to build your capabilities whilst learning on the job.

If you are interested in becoming a Scrum Master, visit our Certified Scrum Master course page.

Also check out the Advanced Certified Scrum Master course page for more information on a certification path you can follow all the way through to the Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master credential.

Frequently Asked Scrum Master Questions

Frequently asked Training and Certification questions